A very smooth process has stalled at the Capitol as budget talks reach an impasse with a deadline looming.
Work on the $23 billion state budget that begins July 1st had been going smoothly, until this week. House and Senate negotiators haven’t even been meeting much.
“We have a few major areas of difference and until we get those worked out, I didn’t see any point in working through the rest of the issues in the budget,” House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) tells Capitol reporters.
Silvey is quick to point out that the two chambers have hung up on $60 million, a very small percentage of the total state budget.
“So, the vast majority of the budget is figured out. I mean, it’s not that contentious,” according to Silvey. “But, we have a difference in philosophy that’s arisen over the last week and that is that the Senate wants to spend every dollar that they can get their hands on and the House does not.”
The Senate wants to appropriate $20 million more for school transportation and $20 million more for higher education than recommended by the governor. The House wants $20 million to keep the Missouri Rx program alive, which is the current appropriation level and an additional $9 million for in-home health providers. The two chambers have until 6pm Friday to work out their differences and pass a budget.
Silvey says that while formal talks have not been taking place, informal talks have continued.